I never had a strong relationship with my dad. He was a pastor and kept himself super busy “visiting” members and prospects of our church when I was a child. But when he was home, we didn’t interact much there either. He just didn’t seem to know how to interact with others, especially loved ones, on anything more than a surface level. I don’t blame him for that. I also don’t ignore it. I accept it as the way things were.

As I grew into adulthood, I tried to reach out to him more. He was much older when I was born, so the generation gap was wide. But this age difference gave me even more incentive and urgency to get to know this mystery man in my life on up to his death in 2007. I am so glad that I made that effort. I had no regrets after his death. I felt content that I had done all that I could to bridge the gap.

Here’s where my story is going, though,… I feel like I’ve applied some of those same awkward and distant feelings to God, my heavenly Father. I’ve viewed Him at times as detached. I’ve viewed Him as someone who doesn’t truly care for me or have affection for me. I’ve tried for years to work on my perspective toward my heavenly Father, and I think I’ve made progress. But there is much more work to be done in my heart and mind.

In fact, just recently I’m challenging myself to refer to God in my prayers as “Father,” rather than “Lord” as I’ve done all of my life. This little adjustment has been slowly moving my heart to a warmer, closer place with my Father.

Rather than focusing solely on His heavenly and holy attributes, like some ethereal, majestic Spirit on a gleaming bright throne (which tends to make me feel removed and unworthy of Him), I’ve begun to give attention to His Fatherly attributes. I’ve pictured Him still as King, but also as my Father, who’s welcoming me into His presence. And I’m not just being asked to come and bow at His feet, but to climb up into His lap and feel Him wrap His loving arms around me!

This new perspective shift is changing my relationship with God. And it’s changing me too! It’s making it so much easier to trust Him. It’s bringing a lightness to my step. It’s healing the old wounds that were left by an earthly father who didn’t really know how to love. This new perspective is giving me a hope and joy like I’ve never known before!

I hope that you are experiencing an intimate view of God our loving Father. And if you aren’t, tell me about your struggles, so that others won’t feel alone in their struggle, and best of all, so that we can pray for each other!

“So let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:16 (NLT)

“How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” 1 John 3:1a (NIV)



Comments on: "Earthly vs. Heavenly Father – Which One is Winning Out?" (8)

  1. Beth,

    Thank you for posting this. I needed this right now. I have so many issues with my earthly father based on how I was treated growing up I know its why I have issues with my heavenly father. I am so afraid right now to go running back and have been away for too long. I am tired of carrying this anger and fear towards my heavenly father. I need him more than anything right now as I embrace taking steps to have physical, emotional, and spiritual healing. These steps involve working through trauma in therapy and possibly having more surgery. I am having a hard time praying for myself right now really its been the last 6 or 7 years since i have been running and turning my back on God.


  2. I’m so glad it struck a chord with you. I think a lot of people tend to do this and may not even make the connection in their spiritual life. I hope your spiritual journey takes a more intimate path in the days, weeks and months ahead. I’ll pray for you in this.

  3. After I made that connection a few years ago I was even able to reconcile with the earthly father I hadn’t spoken with in 13 years…that’s how big our heavenly Father’s love and grace is!

  4. It’s interesting that alot of us with “daddy issues” have this same pecularity of not calling God “Dad” or “Father,” and how we relate our earthly fathers to our Heavenly one. They affect our relationship with Him.

    I’m also working on that…calling God “Father.” Sometimes habit interrupts and I go back to calling Him “Lord” or “God” or “Jesus.”

    Great blog.

  5. I’m so glad to know I’m not the only one who struggles with this problem, Nikole. I’ll pray for you and hope that you pray for me in this matter–of course, I’ll address God as “Father” in all of my intercessions for you! 🙂

  6. Hi Beth! Yay! It’s a double feature on Beth. 🙂 I didn’t grow up with a father, so it has been the past decade that I’ve been getting to know my Heavenly Father more deeply. Wonderful thoughts – thanks for sharing!

  7. Thanks so much, Bonnie, for stopping by both my “writeontheknow” and my “messymarriage” sites. I’m sorry to hear that you didn’t even have that father figure in your life as a child. I’m sure that adds greater implications to the whole intimate relationship issue with God our Father. I’ll pray for you in that.

    And thanks for giving me a “double feature” in comments too! Your encouragement really matters!

  8. Shut Down said:

    Hi My dad left when i was twenty, to live with my best friend (also twenty). It was a few years later that the dad/Father connection can me to my attention. It’s now 14 years since he left, our relationship has taken a number of turns and currently i have no desire to be in contact with him, as life is difficult and complicated enough for me. My problem is a also feel out of contact with God. I don’t know how to deal with my dad (and his lack of desire for honest communication) and i don’t know how to connect with God. I feel stuck. I’m planning to see a counsellor in the near future and have just come across this website.

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